Jews in France Appeal to Pope for Return of Baptized Children

The Alliance Israelite Universelle has appealed to Pope Plus XII to ask his assistance in returning to a relative in Israel two Jewish children baptized by Catholic authorities in France and spirited out of the country recently to frustrate a court order restoring the children to their family, it was announced here today.

The two children are Robert and Gerard Finaly, 11 and 10, respectively, who were left in a municipal home in Grenoble in 1944 by their Austrian Jewish refugee parents, Dr. and Mrs. Fritz Finaly, when they were seized and murdered by the Nazis. The children were baptized in the Catholic faith in 1948.

Meanwhile, 10 persons, including four Catholic priests and a nun, have been arrested on charges of spiriting the children out of France into Spain where they are now believed to be. The children, it was learned, were taken over a smugglers’ route through the Pyrenees in a bitter cold spell February 13. The Alliance has appealed to the French Premier and the French authorities to help return the boys to their aunt in Israel, and to bring to justice all persons responsible for their abduction.

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